Ok, sorry for the long story but it may help.
I live in an area where the water was ruined by strip mines about 30 years ago. last spring we drilled a well. Well has a great amount water at 45 feet. Almost 50 gallons per minute.
But as we expected the water is pretty hard and the iron is crazy high. Something like 60 PPM.
We contacted an acquaintance in the water treatment business who is very well regarded in those circles. He makes his living fixing all of the water ruined by strip mines in about four counties.
We ask him to suggest a treatment but we tied his hands due to our attempting to go off grid. We did not want anything that took caustic chemicals to regenerate and we wanted something that did not rely on electricity.
After testing and playing with a sample for about a week he came to the conclusion that the iron in our water was something "people refer to as clear water iron". The water is crystal clear and the iron will stay suspended in the water for 4 or 5 days before it even gets slightly cloudy.
He suggested that a standard ion exchange water softener would remove about 90 percent of the iron and hardness without using an incredibly high amount of salt. he also suggested a birm filter would then remove the rest of the iron and make the water usable.
So last fall using an **** rebuilt fleck 5600 econominder valve and used softener tanks I built a softener with 1.5 cubic feet of resin. Upon testing this did knock our iron down to about 7ppm. About a month ago I put together a birm filter from a used softener tank,1 cubic ft of birm media and an **** manual water softener valve. This has worked perfectly for about a month.
I have been regenerating the softener about every 4 days and the birm filter about every 10 days. Monday I backwashed and rinsed the birm filter and my water has been horrible ever since. The bathtub is orange and a little bleach in a glass makes it look like iced tea.
What did I screw up. It literally was perfect when I went to work in the morning. I came home and backwashed it and the water has been horrible.
I have tried backwashing again rinsing more and regenerating the water softener twice.